Molecular Mechanisms of Diabetes
The research unit focuses on understanding the pathogenesis of diabetes at the molecular level. This metabolic disease afflicts millions of people worldwide, yet we still do not know the underlying cause. Diabetes affects many organ systems, including pancreas, liver, muscle, fat, bone, and brain, each playing a distinct role in disease etiology.
Genetics and environmental factors such as poor eating habits, low physical activity, and stress combine to create the ideal setting for diabetes to develop and cause permanent damage (vascular and heart disease). Insulin-producing cells of the pancreas become exhausted and die; the liver produces excess sugar; and, fat is stored in inappropriate locations (i.e. muscle, liver). We also know that metabolic abnormalities in one tissue often impact the health of another (organ cross-talk), adding layers of complexity.
In Jennifer Estall's laboratory, members of the team strive to understand the molecular events in each tissue that trigger disease and identify new ways to prevent, diagnosis, or reverse the metabolic abnormalities associated with insulin resistance and beta-cell dysfunction / death.
- Director, Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases Research Division, IRCM
- Director, Molecular Mechanisms of Diabetes Research Unit
- Associate IRCM Research Professor
- Associate Research Professor, Department of Medicine (accreditation in molecular biology), Université de Montréal
- Adjunct Professor, Department of Medicine (Division of Experimental Medicine) and Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, McGill University
- Research Scholar from the Leaders Opportunity Fund, Canada Foundation for Innovation
- Member, Montreal Diabetes Research Centre
- Member, Réseau de recherche en santé cardiométabolique, diabète et obésité
- Member, American Diabetes Association
- Member, Canadian Association for the Study of Liver
Awards and honours
- H.L. Holmes Award, National Research Council Canada
- New Investigator Award, Canadian Institutes of Health Research
- Research Scholar - Junior 2, Fonds de recherche de Québec - Santé
Degrees and relevant experience
- B.Sc. Department of Pharmacology, University of Toronto (2000)
- PhD in molecular biology, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto (2005)
- Postdoctoral fellowship, Departments of Cell and Cancer biology, Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts, USA
Oropeza D, Jouvet N, Budry L, Campbell JE, Bouyakdan K, Lacombe J, Perron G, Bergeron V, Neuman JC, Brar HK, Fenske RJ, Meunier C, Sczelecki S, Kimple ME, Drucker DJ, Screaton RA, Poitout V, Ferron M, Alquier T, Estall JL, Phenotypic Characterization of MIP-CreERT1Lphi Mice With Transgene-Driven Islet Expression of Human Growth Hormone. - Diabetes 2015 Nov
Fonds de recherche du Québec - Glucagon has long been perceived as a hormone that inhibits the action of insulin. Jennifer Estall's team is challenging this dogma.
La Presse - Researchers were working on a way to reduce glucagon secretion, which is suspected to be a cause of diabetes. But Jennifer Estall has just discovered that glucagon could prevent diabetes.
Radio-Canada - The glucagon hormone does not interfere with insulin's work in controlling diabetes as previously thought; it may even have a protective effect against the disease.
- Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
- International Development Research Center (IDRC)
- Diabète Québec
- Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS)
- Merck Foundation
- Université de Montréal
- Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)
Support biomedical research
Montreal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM)
110, des Pins Avenue West
Montréal, Québec H2W 1R7